Southeast - Cycle North Carolina
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02-25-11, 08:10 AM
Greetings from Oregon! I am a 60+ recreational rider who enjoys seeing the world at a leisurely pace on two wheels. Having experienced Ride the Rockies and Cycle Oregon the past two years, I am looking to explore a different part of the country for a similar event this year. I recently spent a few days in NC and thought it might be a great location for a week-long ride later in the year.
Could someone who has been on past Cycle NC rides please give me a preview of the event - distance, terrain, organization, support, cost etc. I see this year's event is Oct 1-8, but it looks like no further details will be available until some time in April, and I am not finding much info on last year's ride or recent years. Thanks.
02-25-11, 08:28 AM
See the above link to the history of the ride.
Basically, the ride is a week-long, starts in the mountains and you ride to the beach. First day or two qualify as the "mountains", the next three days qualify as rolling, the last couple days get FLAT.
Distances typically about 100(+)k a day, with a couple days having 100-mile options.
You camp along the way, or stay in local motels/hotels -- your choice. There may be limited "indoor camping".
It is often quite chilly (freezing) the night before the first ride as you may be camped at 3000 ft elevation or so. Once you get out of the mountains, it can get quite hot, or stay cool to chilly as the weather is variable. Sometimes there are two or three or four days of incessant rain. Sometimes it is glorious sunshine all week long.
About 1000 riders.
02-25-11, 07:05 PM
I did the ride in 2009 as my first 'cross-state' ride. I thought they organized it well, good route markings, good SAGs and rest stops. I rode with a friend and we did the hotel instead of camping. I enjoyed it very much and would do the ride again if there weren't so many other options :) .
Price seemed very reasonable. Can't compare it to others as I haven't done others, but I was happy with how they ran the ride and I can be a bit picky about 'organization'. Each year they change the towns, so can't comment on the route. I will say this Florida based flat road rider found some challenges riding the hills out of West NC.
02-26-11, 02:06 AM
I can recommend Bike Virginia (http://www.bikevirginia.org) to you as well. This year's location looks like a lot of fun.
02-26-11, 11:05 AM
skiffrun - Appreciate the link to past rides and other typical ride info. I survived the chilly freezing mornings to mid-day heat on both my Colorado and Oregon rides.
FL-MarkD- Thanks for sharing your 2009 debut experience. Nice to know the ride was well organized. I understand the mountain roads out east can be steeper grades than out west.
JimF22003 - Great idea, will look into it; but one attraction of NC for me is family in RTP area who recommend combining an Outerbanks holiday to follow the bike ride.
Screenwasher--I've done both Cycle NC and RtR. I did RtR last summer and it was one of the most enjoyable weeks and experiences I've ever had. The organization, amenities and scenery is hard to compete with. I would certainly recommend Cycle NC but frankly it's a notch or so below RtR and Oregon. However it is very well organized and supported, the roads are generally excellent for cyclists and the group of riders are generally cyclists with an average age of 50+. If you want to see NC from a saddle and do a week of riding this is an excellent way to do that. It is also very reasonable cost wise as far as tours go.You have the options for camping/motels and generally there are excellent choices of restaurants along the way. I have not seen the route so I can't offer anyting regarding the route.
It does seem that the ride has had more than their fair share of wet weather the last 4-5 years though.
03-09-11, 09:11 AM
Thanks, jppe. Cycle NC is the top week ride on my list at the moment based on all the feedback here. Will have to just wait until the route is announced next month. I really enjoyed last year's Cycle Oregon ride in eastern OR & WA, and would have to say from my limited experience that it is extremely well organized. CO filled up in 2 days this year. Unlike RtR which is by lottery, CO is first come first serve registration.
04-04-11, 08:49 AM
I've ridden cross-state tours in NC, GA, VA, OH, IN and WI. I've enjoyed them all. Cycle NC has a week-long, cross-state tour in the fall and a 3-day weekend tour in the spring. I've ridden them both but prefer the spring ride because it is based out of a single town along the coast, so you don't have to pick up and move every day. My main issue with the CNC fall tour is that it always starts in the mountains and ends at the coast, so making travel arrangements is more difficult and expensive than a loop tour. The other issue with CNC is the timing, which is not ideal for me but might be great for others. Early October is usually not a good time for me to take a week off work, and we also sometimes get hurricanes and tropical storms that time of year, but statistically it is about the driest month of the year in NC.
I am riding in the CNC spring tour April 8-10 for the fourth year in a row. I love this ride! The weather is usually ideal (altho windy) with mild temps and lots of trees and flowers blooming. The roads are flat in Eastern NC, so it's a great way to start the season, although the winds can be challenging. The best part is that the ride is based in a single coastal town each year, so you don't have to pick up and move every day, and there are plenty of options for camping, lodging, eating out, entertainment, etc.
Also check out Bike Virginia. They are riding in the New River Valley of Western VA this year (June 24-29) and this beautiful country. You only have to move once, or not at all, depending on where you stay. My brother and I have signed up and are staying in a motel in Radford, so we won't have to relocate at all.
04-05-11, 04:07 AM
hi tarwheel. This will be my 4th BikeVirginia. This year's ride looks like a great location. I'm ready to go right now!
(Maybe not quite ready yet for the back-to-back century options though...)
04-05-11, 09:01 AM
Jim - Have you ridden or visited that area before? It is beautiful country. I've ridden on the New River Trail a couple of times, but not on the roads. Really looking forward to the trip. My brother and I are both bringing bikes/wheel sets that we can ride on the New River Trail for a change of pace.
04-06-11, 04:29 AM
The closest I've come to riding in that area is when I've done Mountains of Misery (twice.) That starts in Newport, just outside of Blacksburg. I don't think we'll be on that side of the valley so much into the mountains though, from looking at the routes on the BV sites (kind of hard to tell until they post the GPS files.) I think they mainly stick to the valley. I see from today's email that one of the century days will hit the Blue Ridge Parkway though. I have ridden the parkway there between Roanoke and down past Floyd, almost to the NC line. I've ridden almost all of the BRP that is in Virginia. One day I'll do the whole thing on a tour or something, but for now I have to do it in stages :)
The New River Trail is unpaved I guess? I like that kind of riding too, but I plan to stick with the road bike this summer. A couple of years ago they did a section of the Virginia Creeper trail near Damascus, but I skipped that also. Sounds like a great option though.
05-03-11, 10:36 AM
I see they have finally announced the route for this year.
Any comments from local NC cyclists about the route and overnight towns - scenery, terrain, etc. Thanks.
05-03-11, 01:42 PM
The route begins in Elkin, NC, so the route this year will miss the higher mountains.
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